Mario Balotelli has already started a legacy at Milan that divides fans unlike any other. A highly polarizing character that you either love or hate, Super Mario has made the headlines for far different reasons in his first few months in Italy after an unsuccessful stint in England.
The first reason for his success is happiness. Balotelli has seven goals in eight Serie A matches after his turbulent spell at Manchester City produced many headaches and little in terms of pure goalscoring.
Now, Mario is finally calm. In England, he was disappointed with the food, the weather and the parking tickets in the city center, so he took to pyrotechnics in his spare time and became a tabloid superstar with frequent bouts of immaturity. It had much less to do with him being a malicious character than just being a rambunctious youngster.
Secondly, he's near his family, with whom he has very close ties with. The Balotellis adopted Mario at the age of two and raised him in Brescia, a city which is about a 30-minute drive from Milan.
With his close proximity to the family who raised him, Balotelli is kept under a more watchful eye and can no longer use the excuses about age being the reason for his petulance.
Is maturity finally settling it? Could it be that this misunderstood genius is finally realizing his potential and taking the next step in his career? To answer my own questions concisely—yes!
Coaches throughout his upbringing raved about him being the finest talent that they've ever seen. Now he's showing it consistently on a world stage.
Forget about the silly three-match suspension (reduced to two after an appeal) that he picked up after the Fiorentina match for allegedly insulting the linesman. He had heard racist chants flung towards him from the stands throughout the match and was visibly and understandably frustrated.
Unfortunately, his reputation has more to do with refereeing decisions now more than anything. Over the course of a game, there's no player who receives more abuse from opposing defenders than Mario Balotelli. They know about his short temperament and lunge at him to get any sort of reaction.
Despite his minor flaws, which he's working to get rid of, Balotelli's very genius lies in him being misunderstood. His brilliance is just as unexpected as his temperament, and with time, he'll finally become the player who we've all dreamed of.